How can I make my Etymotics sound better?
May 1, 2021 at 2:35 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

philipus

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Hello everybody

I have had my ER4XR for a year and a half now and generally like them. With the double flange tips I get a very good seal. I normally use them with my iPhone X connected with a lightning adapter but sometimes connected to the front audio port of my Mac Pro.

For some reason I need to play them at 50% volume (or even slightly more depending on the music) to hear all the detail they're capable of reproducing. And that gets a bit tiring. Their musical presentation also feels cramped, narrow or closed if any of that makes sense.

I've toyed around with equalisers and have also swapped out the little filters without noticing any improvements, so now I am wondering what else I can do to make them sound, well, 'better', to 'open up a bit more' so to speak, and to do that at lower volumes.

Thank you very much in advance
Philip
 
May 1, 2021 at 4:15 PM Post #2 of 16

Billyak

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Etys just sound narrow. No EQ or filter will fix that I don't think.

I think you need to be in a different mindset when listening to etys. I prefer listening to them at relatively low levels and just let the music play out Infront of me. They are not a set that pull me in wanting more because even turning up the volume does not bring the music any closer so I just don't risk the hearing damage and enjoy them at low level.
 
May 2, 2021 at 2:43 AM Post #3 of 16

philipus

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Etys just sound narrow. No EQ or filter will fix that I don't think.

I think you need to be in a different mindset when listening to etys. I prefer listening to them at relatively low levels and just let the music play out Infront of me. They are not a set that pull me in wanting more because even turning up the volume does not bring the music any closer so I just don't risk the hearing damage and enjoy them at low level.
Thank you for the reply. Do you think they would improve a bit with a portable amp?
 
May 2, 2021 at 2:52 AM Post #4 of 16

Billyak

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Thank you for the reply. Do you think they would improve a bit with a portable amp?
I personally do not think so. Apple usually put a bit more effort in to audio than most so their built in / dongle DAC amps are usually very good. Especially for IEMs.
So if you are only using 50% of the amps output and there is no distortion then I am not convinced some other external amp will make a difference.
 
May 2, 2021 at 3:30 AM Post #5 of 16

philipus

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I personally do not think so. Apple usually put a bit more effort in to audio than most so their built in / dongle DAC amps are usually very good. Especially for IEMs.
So if you are only using 50% of the amps output and there is no distortion then I am not convinced some other external amp will make a difference.
Thank you, that makes sense to me. I really like the Etys for when I'm flying (and even use them as ear plugs when I'm working) but I sometimes wish the sound was fuller. So I can't improve them with an amp I guess I should put the money towards another IEM with fuller sound.
 
May 2, 2021 at 3:46 AM Post #6 of 16

Billyak

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Thank you, that makes sense to me. I really like the Etys for when I'm flying (and even use them as ear plugs when I'm working) but I sometimes wish the sound was fuller. So I can't improve them with an amp I guess I should put the money towards another IEM with fuller sound.
A different set of IEMs is going to get you much closer to what you want rather than trying to force the etys to be what you want.
 
May 2, 2021 at 12:10 PM Post #8 of 16

bobeau

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When I found head-fi about 18 years ago, etys were standard issue here - everyone either had a pair or aspired to have a pair. A set of ER4p was my second purchase back then, probably 3 months or so after I picked up my first 'head-fi' listen in HD 280 pros. I don't think anything was really considered superior until Ultimate Ears came out with a custom triple driver.

The standard explanation back then was that it was as if the music was wired straight into your brain with ultimate clarity, extreme isolation, etc... so I think the lack of staging was seen as a benefit.

You may want to keep an eye on the new triple driver Evos.
 
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May 3, 2021 at 3:08 AM Post #9 of 16

philipus

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Thank you for replying. I find them amazing to be honest particularly with acoustic music and well-recorded pieces. I just love the level of detail they produce, like tiny tinkles on a waterfall. Just beautiful.

But I need to figure out a better way to listen to them with my iPhone because it can't open them up. There's a massive difference when they're connected to the Mac Pro or even the MacBook Pro. They play much better at much lower volumes. The sound stage is much wider too. I guess the iPhone is too weak to drive them somehow. Oh and I noticed that when I updated to iOS 14.5 the noise level switch under Settings - Sounds & Haptics - Headphone Safety became re-activated, which messed with my mind for a while until I saw this.

I'll keep my eyes open for the Evos. Thank you for suggesting that. I wasn't aware of them.

Best
Philip

When I found head-fi about 18 years ago, etys were standard issue here - everyone either had a pair or aspired to have a pair. A set of ER4p was my second purchase back then, probably 3 months or so after I picked up my first 'head-fi' listen in HD 280 pros. I don't think anything was really considered superior until Ultimate Ears came out with a custom triple driver.

The standard explanation back then was that it was as if the music was wired straight into your brain with ultimate clarity, extreme isolation, etc... so I think the lack of staging was seen as a benefit.

You may want to keep an eye on the new triple driver Evos.
 
May 3, 2021 at 4:28 AM Post #10 of 16

Ronion

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May 3, 2021 at 4:37 AM Post #11 of 16

Ronion

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That first app is primarily an excellent EQ that can give you a ton of preset filters from lots of the popular web reviewers. The plug in is free and it’s awesome.

you can also try the red or orange filters with those Etymotics. Those will tone down the Pinna Gain.
 
May 3, 2021 at 4:55 AM Post #12 of 16

philipus

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Thank You very much, there's a really big difference! This is terrifically interesting. I'll have to play around with the settings but wow suddenly there's literally sound outside my head.

You need to find a way to add binaural audio to them. Through your Mac, that’s easy. Through your iPhone, difficult. With a Mac,get this: https://rogueamoeba.com/soundsource/
And this: https://info.dearvr.com/en/download...-mi_us_en&utm_medium=button&utm_content=micro

using that plug in through that whole system audio app will get you what you need as far as soundstage and imaging goes.
 
May 3, 2021 at 7:39 AM Post #13 of 16

CK Moustache

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In my experience, the soundstage (size and dimensions) perception is mostly linked to the frequency response (definitely the biggest factor). With a widely flat tuning without any real dips or peaks, just as the Etys are tuned, a rather "compact", circularly perceived stage is just the case. Add some sub-bass, a peak at 8 kHz, probably another one between 9 kHz and 12 kHz, and a dip around 2 kHz to 3 kHz and probably another one around 6 kHz (the changes don't have to be necessarily extreme - even small ones lead to an effect) and there you have that "large, open" perception.
 
May 3, 2021 at 9:14 AM Post #14 of 16

philipus

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Thank you for chiming in Chris. I've been experimenting today with both the settings in the dearVR Micro plugin and the equaliser in SoundSource, including with your suggestions so thank you for them. I can preliminarily conclude so far is that whichever is 'most preferable' depends on the music in question or even the track in question. It seems that for jazz and electronic music the plugin can add a lot to the presentation by making it sound bigger and more spread out. For acoustic music the plugin seems to remove or dampen parts of voices. I'm not well versed enough in audio terminology to describe this better. My testing has also made me realise that there's really quite a lot of punch in the bass of these IEMs.

In my experience, the soundstage (size and dimensions) perception is mostly linked to the frequency response (definitely the biggest factor). With a widely flat tuning without any real dips or peaks, just as the Etys are tuned, a rather "compact", circularly perceived stage is just the case. Add some sub-bass, a peak at 8 kHz, probably another one between 9 kHz and 12 kHz, and a dip around 2 kHz to 3 kHz and probably another one around 6 kHz (the changes don't have to be necessarily extreme - even small ones lead to an effect) and there you have that "large, open" perception.
 
May 3, 2021 at 12:46 PM Post #15 of 16

Nalin

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Hello everybody

I have had my ER4XR for a year and a half now and generally like them. With the double flange tips I get a very good seal. I normally use them with my iPhone X connected with a lightning adapter but sometimes connected to the front audio port of my Mac Pro.

For some reason I need to play them at 50% volume (or even slightly more depending on the music) to hear all the detail they're capable of reproducing. And that gets a bit tiring. Their musical presentation also feels cramped, narrow or closed if any of that makes sense.

I've toyed around with equalisers and have also swapped out the little filters without noticing any improvements, so now I am wondering what else I can do to make them sound, well, 'better', to 'open up a bit more' so to speak, and to do that at lower volumes.

Thank you very much in advance
Philip
Try SpinFits as they open up soundstage by quite a margin according to my experience with ER2XR, also due to it neutral character mids can sound forward so you can try to tone down mids a bit and see if that helps.
 

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